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Articles of 2004

2004 Olympic Boxing: Two Days, Two Conclusions

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After watching the first two days of the boxing competition at the 2004 Summer Games, I've come to two conclusions. They are etched solidly in my mind and it would take something monumental for me to accept I am wrong. The first determination I've made is that the computerized scoring system literally sucks! I thought it when I first saw it and today I'm even more convinced of it. The second thing I've noticed is that along with the flawed scoring system, the judging is biased in the favor of two countries.

First, the computer scoring system: there are 5 judges who sit around the ring apron with a key pad in front of them. The key pad has two keys that are marked red and blue, which represent each fighter. For a fighter to be awarded a point, 3 of the 5 judges must press the key for the fighter that landed the punch with the white portion of his Boxing glove within one second. While that may sound like a fair and unbiased way to score an Olympic boxing match, it doesn't seem to translate that way during the bouts. I found it very frustrating seeing fighters scoring with clean punches, and not one single point scored.

I can't count how many bouts I watched over the six hours of the televised coverage where I saw ineptness in the scoring and awarding of points to different boxers. In many of those instances, I witnessed fighters land a succession of clean and legal blows without a single point being tabulated. Other times I saw where one fighter land one clean single blow that was obvious, and not a single point awarded. Along with that I saw many clean punches landed to the upper torso and body, without a single point awarded.

During Sunday's televised bouts, analyst Teddy Atlas did mention this during the first bout and throughout the rest of the broadcast. Although it is clearly stated in the rules that punches to the upper torso count, I didn't see any evidence of points being scored for fighters who landed a clean punch to his opponent’s stomach or chest. It was obvious that only punches scored to the head and face were counted and awarded points. This leaves me to ask why? Is it just plain and simple ineptness, or is there more to it? I don't know the answer, but I do know that these oversights definitely exist.

Another thing that I couldn't help but take note of was the scoring of the bouts with either a Cuban or Russian fighter. Since boxing became an Olympic sport in 1908, American and Russian Boxers have won the most medals and were perceived to be the best. The Munich Games in 1972 was the first time that Cuban boxers participated in the Olympics. From 1972 through 1988, the United States and Cuba dominated the medal count, winning the most Gold, Silver, and Bronze. However, since the 1988 Games, the United States has only won two Gold medals and was shut out of a Gold medal in the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.

Starting with the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain, the Russian boxers have replaced the American boxers as one of the two premier boxing squads at the Olympics. Heading into these 2004 Games, the Cubans and the Russians are the teams that are favored to bring home the most medals in the boxing competition. This standing has definitely been earned by these two excellent boxing teams. Any objective observer would have to admit that over the last 12 years, the Cuban and Russian boxers have separated themselves from the rest of the World.

I'm not a person who usually sees a conspiracy behind everything that doesn't appear to be as it should. And I'm not taking anything away from the Cuban and Russian fighters or making any excuses for their success. But, I have no doubt that either the judges are a little overwhelmed by their presence, or are intimidated by them and give them the benefit of every borderline call.

In watching the boxing competition at these 2004 Summer Games, it seems that the Cuban and Russian fighters don't have to be nearly as perfect as the other fighters in order to have points awarded to them. I noticed that even when they are close with their punches or land a glancing blow, points seem to be tallied for them. It seems that the judges err on the side of favoring them, figuring that since they are viewed as the best, they won't be called on it. Adopting the silent mindset, of course those punches where clean shots, everybody knows they're the best?

Again, I don't look for conspiracies, and I'm not even saying there is one in regards to the scoring in favor of the Cuban and Russian boxers. However, it seems that all they have to do is get close to their opponents with their punches and the points tabulate. I saw it happen too many times and believe there is some favoritism towards the Russian and Cuban fighters. Many times I saw fighters from other countries land a bevy of blows to their Russian or Cuban opponent and not get a single point. Yet the Russian or Cuban fighter countered back with one grazing punch and was awarded points.

After watching the first two days of the boxing competition at the 2004 Summer Olympics, I've drawn two conclusions that I am very firm on. The computerized scoring system absolutely sucks and should be scrapped after these Olympic Games. And the Russian and Cuban fighters get the benefit of every close call in the scoring. For any fighter from another Country to defeat them, they have an uphill climb. The Russians and Cubans are outstanding fighters, and the way I see it, the judges don't require the same perfection from them as they do fighters from other countries.

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List

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The final boxing pound-for-pound list of the year for 2004.

1. Bernard Hopkins: The top guy from beginning to end, Hopkins took care of Oscar De La Hoya with a body shot in the biggest fight of 2004. Now, he'll wait for Jermain Taylor to progress a little further, or he'll go the rematch route with Felix Trinidad. Either way, Hopkins stands to earn a lot of money in 2005 and extend that all-time middleweight reign.

2. Floyd Mayweather: How long has it been since we've seen Mayweather in a meaningful fight? Certainly not in 2004, when he outpointed the difficult DeMarcus Corley. He's slated for a January outing against a no-name. Enough stalling, already, “Pretty Boy”. Fight someone we care about (preferably Kostya Tszyu), or you'll lose your #2 position sometime in 2005.

3. Felix Trinidad: “Tito” stormed back with a magnificent knockout of Ricardo Mayorga in 2004, and now hopes to capitalize on it with big money fights. He'd like nothing more than a rematch with his only conqueror, Hopkins, but he may also opt for old nemesis Oscar De La Hoya. Either way, Trinidad is sure to fight a big fight sometime in the coming year.

4. Kostya Tszyu: What a difference one fight makes. As recently as late October, the boxing world was wondering whether Tszyu was even serious about the sport anymore. We found out with a second round demolition of Sharmba Mitchell. And that made the junior welterweight division very attractive. Tszyu has several options now, including Arturo Gatti and Mayweather or even a hop up to welterweight to challenge Cory Spinks. Let's hope one of them happens in 2005.

5. Manny Pacquiao: Pacquiao fought twice in 2004, and what a fight the first one was. His thrilling war with Juan Manuel Marquez was the best brawl of the year, and there is a chance that the two rivals will go at it again in 2005. If not, Pacquiao has a list full of options: Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, etc. Pacquiao will fight one of them in the next year.

6. Marco Antonio Barrera: Another guy thought to be washed up when the year started, Barrera resurrected his career for the second time with a masterful victory over Paulie Ayala and a close decision over rival Erik Morales in another great fight. Barrera is obviously shooting for a return with Pacquiao, who decimated him in November 2003. Barrera says it was an off-night. Hopefully, we'll find out if that was the case.

7. Winky Wright: Winky entered the “superstar” realm in 2004 with a pair of decision victories over Shane Mosley. The first was very impressive, as Wright practically shut Mosley out. The second was closer, but proved once again that Winky was the superior fighter. He'd like a shot at Trinidad or Oscar De La Hoya, but neither will happen. He'd probably be best off shooting for a name like Fernando Vargas or Ricardo Mayorga.

8. Juan Manuel Marquez: After several years on the outside looking in, Marquez is finally in a position to make some money after his courageous performance against Pacquiao. He rose from three first-round knockdowns to wage the fight of his life in a fight that was ruled a draw. It would also be interesting to see Marquez against countrymen Barrera and Erik Morales.

9. Erik Morales: “El Terrible” fought another great fight against Barrera, but, again, it was in a losing cause. He has now lost two of three to his fierce rival, and probably wants nothing to do with him anymore. But, eventually, talk of Barrera-Morales 4 will come up again. In the meantime, Morales could shoot for Pacquiao or Marquez.

10. Glencoffe Johnson: The newest entry, Johnson pumped some life into boxing in 2004 with a pair of upsets of Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver. Now, he's set to make some really big money in rematches with either, or a shot at old conqueror Hopkins. Either way, Johnson is better than anyone imagined.

11. Jose Luis Castillo: Castillo made some comeback noise of his own in 2004, beating Juan Lazcano for his old vacant title and decisioning Joel Casamayor for another big win. He says he wants Kostya Tszyu next, and if that materializes, boxing fans will be in for a treat. If not, Castillo vs. Diego Corrales is a great fight.

12. Oscar De La Hoya: Hard to erase that picture of De La Hoya grimacing in agony courtesy of a Hopkins shot to the ribs, but the “Golden Boy” had no business fighting at 160 pounds. He should drop down to junior middle or even welterweight again if he has any hope of regaining his past form. But 2005 could be the final year for one of boxing's all-time great attractions.

On the brink: Antonio Tarver, Diego Corrales, James Toney

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Articles of 2004

Heavyweight Joe Mesi Bringing Lawsuit

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As reported by the Buffalo News, Joe Mesi is suing the New York State Athletic Commission and the MRI center that conducted tests on the heavyweight boxer after his bout with Vassiliy Jirov. Mesi reportedly suffered brain injuries in the Jirov bout, which has left his boxing status uncertain.

The lawsuit alleges Mesi's medical records were improperly released to the NYSAC. The records, the lawsuit goes on to allege, were then released to the media, prejudicing Mesi's right to have his status reviewed by the appropriate boxing authorities.

The lawsuit does not seek specific monetary damages, as the extent of damages will be affected by whether Mesi is able to resume his career as a leading heavyweight contender.

Mesi hopes to have his status reviewed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission within the coming month. The ruling of the NSAC promises to be key in whether Mesi will be able to resume his boxing career.

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Articles of 2004

The Best in Chicago Boxing Returns

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Dominic Pesoli's 8 Count Productions and Bob Arum's Top Rank Incorporated along with Miller Lite presents SOLO BOXEO DE MILLER, THE ARAGON RUMBLE, another installment of The Best in Chicago Boxing on Friday, January 14th, broadcast live internationally as part of Telefutura's Friday night professional boxing series.

The newly remodeled Aragon Ballroom is located at 1106 W. Lawrence Ave. near the corner of Lawrence and Broadway in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and is easily accessible, just 4 blocks west of Lake Shore Drive and just 4 miles east of the Kennedy expressway. There are three large parking lots located within a 1/2 block of the Aragon Ballroom. Additionally, the Howard Street Blue Line stops just across the street. Doors will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

Headlining the action packed card is the American debut of super-bantamweight Ricardo “PIOLO” Castillo, 12-2 (6KO's) of Mexicali, Mexico as he squares off in a scheduled ten rounder against WBO Latino Champion, Edel Ruiz, 24-12-3 (13KO's) of Los Mochis, SI, Mexico. Castillo will be accompanied to the ring by his brother, World Lightweight Champion Jose Luis Castillo.

In the co-main event of the evening, one of Chicago's most popular fighters, middleweight “MACHO” Miguel Hernandez, 14-1 (9KO's), battles hard swinging local veteran “MARVELOUS” Shay Mobley, 7-4-1 (2KO's), of One In a Million Inc.in a scheduled eight rounder.

The huge undercard bouts include;

Carlos Molina vs TBA, six rounds, junior middleweights
Frankie Tafoya vs TBA, four rounds, featherweights
Ottu Holified vs. Allen Medina, four rounds, middleweights
Francisco Rodriguez vs. LaShaun Blair, four rounds, bantamweights
Rita Figueroa vs. Sarina Hayden, four rounds, junior welterweights

Said Dominic Pesoli, President of 8 Count Productions, “it was a terrific evening last month and our fans were thrilled to be at the Aragon to watch David, Speedy and Luciano. David Diaz's fight against Jaime Rangel was a fight people will talk about for a long time. Our commitment to our fans is to make every event of ours better than the last one. This main event is terrific, both guys are very tough Mexicans who won't take a step back.

The fans love Miguel and Mobley figures to be a very tough opponent. Him and David Estrada had a six round war last June at our show. And the undercard showcases a lot of new, younger talent that is coming out of Chicago right now. Tafoya and Holifield have both had very successful beginnings to their careers and Francisco Rodriguez comes with fantastic amateur credentials and David Diaz says he has all the talent to be a great pro.”

“We've got big plans for 2005 and this show should take up right where last months show left off. The huge crowd loved the action last time and I'm sure they'll say the same thing this time.”

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